Happy Birthday, Dad

A letter to my father on his birthday | HausOfLayne.com

You would have been 66 today. The saddest part of writing this right now is knowing I only have a handful of pictures left to photograph to go along with these birthday letters. And while I’m thinking about it, thank you for being the documenter. Thank you for always hauling that giant camcorder out every Christmas. To stand it on that tripod to record the four hours straight of opening gifts and playing with our new toys. I don’t think any of us have ever sat and watched all of the footage of each year, but knowing you took the time to do it means a lot. Even after all this time. And thank you for instilling that same passion in me.

This New Year’s Eve will be 21 years since you have been gone. I think the hardest part of you not being around is the “wonder” conversation I find myself having. “I wonder if he would have liked this”…. or …. “I wonder what he would have thought about that”. They’re hard because they are involved with everything. Every struggle, every momentous occasion, every holiday.

I wonder if you would be proud, I wonder how you would have been as a grandfather, I wonder what you would have said about that. And I do wonder. All. the. time. And it’s hard. Even 21 years later.

When you first died I used to pray that I would dream about you. It seems silly looking back on it now and obvious wishes of a naive ten year old girl, but I got that wish one time. Do you remember? It was 2006. I was pregnant with Tanner at the time. Jarett and I were living in that little two bedroom apartment.

I was suddenly in a room full of people and wearing a gorgeous gown. There was music and people were laughing and dancing. I felt myself looking for someone or something. The noise quieted just a bit and there was a break in the crowd. I looked up and there you were – boots, jeans and all. You were sitting there in the corner of the room on a sofa and you smiled at me. Oh, that smile. It was like none of it ever happened. I walked up to you as if I had just seen you the day before and I hugged you. You kissed my cheek and said, “Hey Kari”. Only a name you called me now and again when you were alive. We sat together and we talked. Memory escapes me of exactly what, but then you looked at me with a sparkle in your eye.

“I can’t wait for you to meet him”.

I remember wondering what you were talking about, but yet I didn’t ask. You continued with,

“He is just amazing”.

And right then and there you were gone. I was back in my bed. In that little two bedroom apartment and as if it had just happened all over again, I cried out and begged for you to come back. Just for a few more minutes. Just to give you one more hug and tell you ‘I love you’, but you were gone. And Jarett held me that night until I stopped crying.

A few months later we were at an ultrasound appointment and when the technician announced to us that we were having a boy it was then that I knew who you were talking about. And a few months after that Tanner was born. And he came out looking an awful lot like you. And we have conversations about his ears just like you and I did when I was his age – thanks for leaving your mark on that one.

And Dad, he really is amazing.

Looking back, I don’t know for sure if that dream was just the deepest thoughts of my young adult self or if you really were there that night. I do know that I haven’t dreamed about you since. And every now and again I think about it and how nice it would be to see you again, but perhaps it’s easier not to. Perhaps it’s easier to look at the pictures, tell the stories and have that “wonder” conversation like I have been doing for so long.

Either way, Dad. Happy Birthday. We thought about you a lot today.

And P.S. They closed down Pinnacle Peak Patio. I’m sure you had a few choice words about that one. We’ll pick a new place to have dinner on your birthday next year.

A letter to my father on his birthday | HausOfLayne.com

November 16, 2015


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